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close this bookHIV/AIDS and Communication for Behavioural and Social Change: Programme Experiences, Examples, and the Way Forward (UNAIDS, 2001, 68 p.)
close this folderContextual Domain #1: Government Policy
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View the documentCase: Thailand’s national response to AIDS
View the documentCase: Brazil’s Universal Access to Drug Therapy

Case: Thailand’s national response to AIDS

Thailand’s national response to HIV/AIDS is coordinated by its National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB), which represents the country’s planning authority. The NESDB coordinates a comprehensive AIDS action plan through 14 different ministries, over two hundred NGOs, and various private sector institutions. Thailand’s government policy with respect to HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and support has been open, timely, and pro-active, at least when compared to its neighbours.

The NESDB assigns various HIV/AIDS programme components to appropriate government ministries, offices, or departments. For instance, public relations and mass media activities related to HIV/AIDS are conducted by the Prime Minister’s Office (signifying political support at the highest level); AIDS education in schools by the Ministry of Education; AIDS programmes for special target groups (like IDUs, CSWs, etc.) by the Ministry of Interior; medical and counselling services and condom promotion by the Ministry of Public Health; condom distribution and peer education among the military by the Ministry of Defense; and research and evaluation of HIV/AIDS programmes by the Ministry of University Affairs

Over 200 Thai development-oriented NGOs work in the realm of HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and support in addition to a 42 member consortium of Thai NGOs Against AIDS. They provide AIDS education and social support services where the government sector has been relatively weak. For instance, NGOs work closely with disadvantaged communities, especially focusing on the empowerment among stigmatised social groups such as CSWs, IDUs, migrant workers, and others.

The Thai Business Coalition on AIDS also provides information, interventions, technical support, and training programmes on HIV/AIDS to Thai businesses. It implements nondiscriminatory programmes in the workplace for people living with AIDS.

Source: UNAIDS (1999a, p. 77).

The Senegalese government also has dealt with HIV/AIDS openly and pro-actively. When the first six AIDS cases were reported in Senegal in 1986, the government immediately established a national AIDS programme. Within a year, every unit of blood transfusion was screened for HIV antibodies in all ten regions of the country (UNAIDS, 1999b). In 2000, over 400 women’s groups, comprising some 500,000 members, and 200 NGOs support AIDS-related activities in Senegal. AIDS discussions occur in schools, social and professional associations, religious institutions, recreational areas, football fields, the media, the markets, the bus stations, and the home; in essence, everywhere.(Diop 2000).

Workshop participants felt that a national response to HIV/AIDS calls for political courage to make hard political choices. For instance, how to engage the Catholic Church to endorse the idea of condoms to “prevent a death” as opposed to “prevent a birth”? How to institute needle exchange programmes for drug users? How to protect the rights of the most marginalized and vulnerable?